Worldwatch Insitute Blog: Designing a Sustainable Energy Roadmap for the Philippines


Climate change has been a constant reality for many Filipinos, with impacts ranging from extreme weather events to periodic droughts and food scarcity. The most affected populations are coastal residents and rural communities that lack proper disaster preparedness.
Tacloban City after Typhoon Haiyan.
Credit: The Guardian
According to the Center for Global Development, the Philippines is the world’s fourth most vulnerable country to the direct impacts of extreme weather events. Averaging20 tropical cyclones a year, it may be the world’s most storm-exposed nation. Last November, Supertyphoon Haiyan, the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded, claimed more than 10,000 lives, affected over 9 million people, and left over 600,000 Filipinos homeless. With both the oceans and the atmosphere warming, there is broad scientific consensus that typhoons are now increasing in strength.
Like most developing countries, the Philippines plays a minor role in global carbon emissions yet suffers an inordinately higher cost. With over a third of its population living in poverty, the country emits just 0.9 metric tons of carbon per capita, compared to the United States’ 17.6 metric tons. “We lose 5% of our economy every year to storms,” observes Philippine Climate Change Commissioner Naderev Sano. The reconstruction costs of Haiyan alone are estimated at $5.8 billion.
As the Philippines embarks on a long road to recovery, sustainability is key for post-Haiyan rebuilding. “We must build back better and more resilient communities,” says Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Philippines’ Senate Committee on Climate Change, who was named a Regional Champion by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. “We must prevent disasters and be prepared for the next natural hazards. This disaster also tells us about the urgent need to save and care for our environment.”
Bangui Wind Farm. Credit: Erik De Castro/Reuters
It is widely argued that taking early action against climate change through mitigation efforts outweigh the costs and economic impacts of inaction. In the Philippines, transitioning to a low-carbon economy has many challenges, but it also offers strong prospects for growth and development. The country has tremendous mitigation opportunities and is graced with significant renewable energy resources. According to the Philippine Department of Energy, renewable energy already provides 40 percent of the country’s primary energy requirements, and much of its potential has yet to be tapped.
To achieve an environmentally secure future, the Philippines must not only rebuild more sustainably but also create a sustainable pathway for future development. With one of the most progressive energy laws in Asia, the country has committed to a renewable energy target of 50 percent by 2030 under its Renewable Energy Act.
In 2013, the Office of the President’s Climate Change Commission (CCC), the primary executive office working on climate change, began a partnership with the Worldwatch Institute to lay groundwork for a Sustainable Energy Roadmap for the
Senator Heherson Alvarez from the Climate Change Commision meets with Esperanza Garcia to discuss creating a Philippinies Sustainable Energy Roadmap and communication project with Worldwatch.
Philippines, which aims to shift its electricity system to 100 percent renewable energy within a decade. The CCC also invited Worldwatch to help develop an education and outreach campaign on “communicating climate change” to boost environmental literacy and political support for addressing climate change within the country.
Worldwatch is already working on Sustainable Energy Roadmaps for the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Central America, and 15 CARICOM member states, and is eager to assist the Philippine government in building a sustainable pathway that addresses the country’s specific development goals. Many of the world’s developing countries have incredible potential to alleviate poverty through accelerated economic growth while also improving people’s quality of life through sustainable development. The Worldwatch-Philippines partnership aspires to move the country toward developing and deploying low-carbon technologies in order to achieve the deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that are needed to mitigate future climate-related risks.


Featured on Financial Times "Investing in Young People" series

Young innovators promote charity and creativity 

Profiles by Justin Cash

Bohol Youth Convention 2014

I have attended and organized many youth conventions. From the 30 Climate Hero Forums in the Philippines to the Youth Assembly at the UN HQ in NYC. This youth forum holds a special place in my heart. In these past few months, I have been watching Boholana beauty queen, Anna Maris Igpit move and inspire our country and the world through her efforts in leading Oplan Bangon Bohol. Inspired by Rappler's Social Good Summit in the Philippines, she wanted to go to her hometown and empower the young people in Bohol to become change makers by "providing them the right knowledge, information, understanding to shape role models in the communities and capacitate them to impact communities and contribute in Nation-Building in the country."Bohol was hit by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck last October, and was also impacted by the recent Typhoon Haiyan last December. Anna Igpit has been a strong force in rebuilding and rehabilitating her hometown and neighboring cities in the Philippines – and she wants the young generation of Bohol to move their city in the right direction!

She brought passionate, brilliant, driven, inspiring leaders together
together to inspire the young Boholanos: Rappler’s Maria Ressa, CNN Hero Efren PeƱaflorida, Jr., Nation-Builder, Alex Lacson Alex Lacson, and more.

Rebuilding Haiyan-hit Elementary School and Planting Trees with Family

Every year, since 2009, my family plants trees in our grandparents farm in Barili to celebrate the new year. Look how much they've grown!

This year, we also visited Malapascua, an island leveled out by Typhoon Haiyan. When I visited Malapascua to do relief work with friends from NYC a month after Haiyan had hit, we visited an elementary school which was destroyed by Haiyan. Two of six classrooms were destroyed, and most of the classrooms' roofing had holes. The North Guimbatayan elementary school was not receiving any help at the time- and children were not studying in the safest conditions. I came home and told my family. My family and I visited the school two days after Christmas. Inspired by Bundles of Joy and Letters of Hope, we brought bundles of Joy for all the children in school. These eco-friendly bags  had school supplies, crayons, notebooks, books, and hygiene kits. We also helped rebuild the school.

Helping others and making a difference are the best memories I will have with my family.

“For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever...”
 Henry David Thoreau